Variations in the Patient Care Process at the Emergency Department: Development and Implications of an Observational Instrument

  • place:

    Geb. 11.40, Raum 253

  • sws:

    25. Oktober 2012

  • Referent:

    Dr. Ir. Maartje Zonderland, Universität Twente (Niederlande)

  • Zeit:


Variations in the patient care process at the emergency department: development and implications of an observational instrument

In this talk we discuss the development and implications of an observational instrument,

designed to evaluate treatment routines at an Emergency Department (ED).

The instrument divides all different types of activities a doctor can perform at an

ED into eight categories. In 2010, a pilot study with the instrument was carried

out at the ED of Leiden University Medical Center. All physician activities were

registered on a minute-to-minute base by an independent observer. Ten doctors were

observed during a total of 36 hours in which 42 patients were seen. Although

emergency physicians were observed for a shorter period of time than internists,

they saw more patients. Emergency physicians tended to have more patient contact

time than internists, but both groups dedicated most of their time to documentation

and had little communication with emergency department nurses. The average

LOS of internal patients was significantly higher than for the patients of emergency

physicians. By protocol, patients at the Emergency Department (ED) who are seen

by emergency physicians are treated one by one, resulting in a more or less serial

treatment routine. Physicians from other departments tend to see more patients at

the same time (parallel treatment routine), and thus occupy more treatment rooms

simultaneously. We suspect that the parallel treatment routine is related to a longer

patient LOS and suboptimal ED logistics. In a succeeding study we will mathematically

compare the advantages and disadvantages of serial and parallel treatment

routines at the ED.